Faked passports

Stevie P
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Faked passports

Post by Stevie P » Sun 15 Jun, 2008 21:19:59

‘When the first glimmerings of returning consciousness stirred Gregory Sallust’s brain the aeroplane was thousands of feet above Northern Germany.’

The opening sentence of Faked Passports immediately transports the reader back to the day/night of November 8th/9th 1939 where we left Flight-Lieutenant Freddie Charlton carrying Gregory Sallust into the passenger seat of a plane at the finale of ‘The Scarlet Impostor.’

As Freddie heads home for England, Gregory starts to wake up and his muddled thoughts return to the devastating ‘Night of Blood’ that had taken place at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin where he managed to inflict severe damage to the left eye of Gruppenfuhrer Grauber of the Gestapo.
(The 1966 Arrow paperback front cover of Faked Passports showing no damage to his eye at all!!)

Despite the bullet wound in his shoulder Gregory pleads with Freddie to return him to Berlin immediately in order to help protect his beloved Erika von Epp.
Freddie is not prepared to do this. This argument goes on for some time.
Gregory eventually gets his own way but not in the manner he had hoped when their plane is shot down by a German anti-aircraft battery.
Gregory and Freddie are on the run.
Whilst trudging through the fields and forests of Brandenburg the two of them decide to avoid escape capture by hiding up a tree.
This very much reminds me of the story of Charles II when he hid up an oak tree to avoid the parliamentarians.
DW's biography (Old Rowley) indicated what a big admirer he was of Charles.

I don't intend to go through the details of the whole story and spoil it for those who haven't yet read the book…BUT… I would add that at this point Gregory and Freddie are spotted by a German officer; The Colonel Baron Von Lutz, who luckily for them happened to be one of the 'Anti Nazi brigade' who was present at the Hotel Adlon. The Colonel was also in hiding from the Nazi's because he thought they were searching for him due to his participation in the Anti Nazi group!!! With it so far???

Gregory and Freddie are offered shelter in the Colonel's house (as they are, ‘in effect’, fighting the same battle as the German).
Gregory recovers from his shoulder wound but when other Pro Nazi German soldiers arrive on the scene the Colonel is killed which allows GS to take over his identity.

The story then goes into a fascinating flight through Germany to a personal visit to Field Marshall Hermann Goerings’ residence in Karinhall. (Chapter IX – “He who sups with the devil needs a long spoonâ€￾).
GS convinces Goering that it is in the German interest (also the interest of the British – for other reasons) for Finland to fight against the Russians who have recently accused them of firing on their troops killing an officer and three privates.
Molotov was insisting that the Finns were threatening Leningrad and the Finns should withdraw their troops 16 miles from their frontier.(The Mannerheim Line).
If Russia gain access to the Eastern Baltic it could pose a future threat to Germany.

Gregory also convinces Goering that he is the man to go into Finland as Colonel Baron von Lutz and pass this information on to the Finnish authorities.
Before he leaves he accidentally manages to get his hands on a document that had been in Goerings safe. He puts it in his pocket for future viewing.

Goering provides him with a letter of authority;

“Karinhall,
November 28th 1939

“The bearer of this letter is my friend, Colonel-Baron von Lutz.
The Baron will hand to you a document of the first importance.
With the information therein, for which I personally vouch, the
Finnish Government will realize that they have little to fear
from an attack by Russia.
“At the moment Germany is in no position to make an
official pronouncement but I cannot too strongly stress our hope
that the Finnish government will resist the Russian demands,
with the knowledge that time is on their side and that in secret
I shall do everything possible to assist them.â€￾

Gregory is to pass the letter to the Finnish foreign office. Freddie is to fly him out.


Oh! I forgot to mention that Erika von Epp had managed to get safely out of Germany ………………to Helsinki!!
Oh! And Freddie’s girlfriend, Angela also happened to have been shipped out to……. Helsinki, as her father had been transferred from the Dutch consulate in Amsterdam to the Finnish consulate!!!.

On the last day of November (1939) the Russians invaded Finland.
After forty two days of hellish bombardment and mass attacks, the Mannerheim line was breached and the gallant Finns were compelled to accept terms. On 12th March they surrendered.
Voroshilov’s invasion eliminated the risk of German armies being put ashore at Helsinki.
This was a perfectly logical sequel to their having overrun the eastern half of Poland and absorbed the three small independent Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, created in 1919/20. That should have come as no surprise to anyone who had read my book Red Eagle. Marshal Voroshilov had stated very clearly, that owing to Russia’s geographical situation, Germany was the only power Russia had to fear; and that in the initial stages of a war the Russian army could not hope to defeat that of Germany. Therefore Soviet strategy must be to fall back, destroying as she withdrew everything that might be of value to the enemy, even if this meant leaving many important cities in ruins. By this ‘Scorched earth’ policy a belt of territory 300 miles deep was to be sacrificed as slowly as possible to give Russia time to mobilise her huge manpower which would later defeat Germany.

Drink and Ink – Page 180

The next unscheduled stop for GS, Freddie, Erika and Angela is Petsamo in the Arctic circle.
They manage to evade capture from a group of Russian soldiers by “Borrowingâ€￾ a Troika and horsesâ€￾ enabling them to escape across the snow covered landscape. They take shelter in a house in the middle of nowhere and the four of them have to stay put there until the Spring as the weather becomes too bad for them to travel in.
A ‘snowbound Arcady’, as DW puts it.

Freddie decides to have a read of the note that Gregory ‘borrowed’ from Goering.
It was in code but Freddie eventually cracks it and Gregory decides that it is too valuable a document to sit on. They must all leave at once to get this document to the UK.
So it is back into the Troika and horses for the four friends who have to face the freezing cold yet again.
Chapter XXVI Hunted by Wolves is really worth reading.

They eventually reach an isolated village where they are taken for questioning by more Russians. Here they meet with the Russian General Kuporovitch – The Military Governor of Kandalaksha. (He eventually becomes a great friend of Gregory’s)

From here on the story gets even more exciting including a 72 mile trek across a frozen lake.
Erika is sentenced to death for treason. Grauber is with her to carry out the task

…………………………………….

‘Faked Passports’ is an excellent sequel to The Scarlet Impostor. The story covers the 4 months from 9th November 1939 to March 14th 1940 (two days after the Russio-Finnish war ended).

The storyline is fast flowing and rarely lets up. The extracts above are just a small portion of the exploits that happen within the book. I could have carried on with more of the action but you will prefer it if you read it yourselves.

………………………………………


The page numbers below are taken from the Hutchinson edition of ‘The Secret Missions of Gregory Sallust’

Page 18 - Gregory admits he is 39. He was therefore born in 1900.

Pages 39 – 42 DW gives a large info dump on the situation in Germany since the previous war; Reconstruction of the country and severe unemployment necessitated a bar on immigration; Germany had had her colonial possessions taken away but was breeding just as fast as ever. Hence the German people had become desperate and had allowed Hitler to lead them into the next assault upon the great democracies.
The Colonel was asked What proportion of the German people were really backing the Fuehrer, he replied, “ Ten per cent of the people are very much pro Nazi and ten per cent of the people are very much anti-Nazi. The other eighty per cent, they haf not the brain to think for theirselves at all…â€￾

Page 49 – The IRA get a mention.

Pages 94 – 97 DW (in the guise of Gregory Sallust) sings the praises of Goering.
I believe that if DW were to have produced a third biography, it would have been based on the Field Marshall if it hadn’t been so politically incorrect at the time.
Goering is made out to be a really wonderful person who was desperately in love with his first wife Karin von Fock after whom Karinhall was named.

Page 204 – Grauber has an absolute terror of air –raids, which was fortunate for GS and friends as they were about to be arrested by the Finnish police aided by Grauber’s men. During the raid they escaped.
DW then describes the ‘chaotic scenario’.
(Russian) planes were still circling low over the house- tops; some were machine- gunning the Red Cross workers in the streets. Further away in the direction of the harbour bombs were still detonating with a horrid crump every few seconds. Great clouds of black smoke were pouring up into the sky from a number of burning buildings. A one-decker bus came careering down the street with another fire-fighting squad in it. There was a burst of machine gun fire from a swooping plane; the driver was riddled with bullets and slumped over his wheel; the bus now out of control, suddenly swerved, mounted the pavement and crashed the a shop window.

Page 213 – GS, Freddie, Erika & Angela take cover in a nearby school. The indoor swimming pool had been emptied out and teachers and children were gathered there.
Reminiscent of the swimming pool scene in The Golden Spaniard where people were being executed in an emptied out, indoor pool.

Page 218 & 420 – DW makes reference to a tramp steamer. I didn’t know what this was so I checked it out. It is a Freight vessel – Especially a steamer not running on a regular line.

Page 276 – Erika, … had read much more about Black Magic than any of the others…

Page 322 - Gregory has by now grown a black and grey imperial beard.

Page 399 – GS used an Italian oath which in the imagination of man has never been exceeded for is blasphemy. Any idea’s anybody???




“The story-teller who tries to provide ‘escape’ for his readers in hours like these has his work cut out; if he actually makes the setting of his ‘escape’ story the War itself he may seem to be attempting the impossible for a wager. If that is the case with Mr Dennis Wheatley, prince of thriller writers, he wins his bet triumphantly…. Gregory Sallust has brought it off again – and so has Mr Wheatley.â€￾

The Times Literary Supplement

parabellum
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Post by parabellum » Mon 23 Jun, 2008 18:11:44

Dear Steve,

Thank you for the enjoyable review of Faked Passports. It was my second DW read after I was hooked by The Black Baroness. I bought the 1966 Arrow edition and confess I fell as much in love with the Luger on the front cover as the beautiful Erika von Epp. And yes absent from the artwork is Herr Grauber’s bandage "covering his empty eye socket" and another covering "his chin and the whole of the lower portion of his face."

The book is a bit Boy’s Ownish, perhaps naff in parts, but nevertheless a good read.

I am always puzzled over DW’s obsession with Goering which he carried over into They Used Dark Forces. Goering was probably one of the worst megalomaniacs in history. He had as much to do with formulating the horrific Nazi regime as anyone and there’s no evidence of him being the statesman DW tries to portray. He was a good combat pilot in WW1 but in later life simply an opportunist, a drug dependent, a blusterer and a murderer.

One of my favourite parts of the book is the raid on the Gestapo HQ. Again a puzzle. Wuolijoki loans Sallust and his party “Suma automatic rifles.â€￾ I am not sure if DW means the Finnish Suomi which was a sub-machine gun not an automatic rifle. Further on in the chapter Sallust refers to the weapons as “sub-machine guns.â€￾

A peasant’s hut in the Artic circle stocked with books and a radio?

The Italian oath? Sallust uses it only in times of extreme stress so he must have been cursing and swearing from 1939 through to 1945.

And how did Erika keep her stockings up after utilising her suspenders as a catapult?

Thanks again for the review and it’s about time you did The Black Baroness.

Stevie P
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Post by Stevie P » Tue 24 Jun, 2008 17:42:49

Thankyou Parabellum for the excellent comments and observations of which I totally concur.

With regard to Erika's stockings staying up - I'm sure Gregory wouldn't be bothered either way ;-) A little chilly in the Arctic though.

I will start reading 'The Black Baroness' in approx 1 week. I'm just finishing reading a 'Non Dennis Wheatley' book .....Sorry to have to admit to that Charles!!!!!!!!

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Post by shanedwyer » Wed 16 Sep, 2015 09:08:29


Page 399 – GS used an Italian oath which in the imagination of man has never been exceeded for is blasphemy. Any idea’s anybody???


Just had a re-read of this excellent review.

My guess is the oath is porco Dio. Very infra dig. But it's in common enough usage for a foreigner like GS to have picked it up.

Darren
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Post by Darren » Wed 16 Sep, 2015 19:03:37

Shane - porco Dio I am familiar with. Infra dig? I've not heard that in Yorkshire before. I had to Google it. D.
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Post by shanedwyer » Mon 21 Sep, 2015 07:22:07

Yes, infra dig is hardly in common usage. It's a bit of pre-war upper crust slang. I think I picked it from one of those 'humorous' books about social class that seemed to do the rounds back in the 80s.

There's an interesting article on Italian profanities in Wikipedia. Porco Dio gets the expected mention, as does one which I'd never heard of before and is really blasphemous. So maybe that's the one Sallust came out with.

Italian Profanity

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Post by Darren » Sat 26 Sep, 2015 21:05:06

Which one do you mean? Pota de Cristo?
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Darren.

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Sun 27 Sep, 2015 08:02:25

I do.

And if Sallust used that one, he might want to consider Pascal's Wager.

Darren
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Post by Darren » Sun 27 Sep, 2015 16:37:45

Now that is a coincidence. I haven't come across Pascal's Wager for a few years and then it turns up twice within half an hour. I read it in the latest Jack Reacher novel late this afternoon, and a few minutes later I read your post.
:smt073
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Darren.

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 11:47:44

Coincidence...or a celestial nudge to put your money on the right horse? ;)

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Post by Darren » Mon 28 Sep, 2015 16:27:17

I suspect most visitors to this site have backed an alternative horse. :smt100
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Darren.

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Post by Cibator » Tue 29 Sep, 2015 22:07:39

This reader decided a long time ago, on grounds similar to those of M. Pascal, to back DW's own preferred horses of karma and reincarnation. I"ve conducted myself with those considerations in mind ever since. But one nagging question I've never been able to shake off. Why, at this particular point in the great cycle of the universe, has it been ordained that there shall be so many souls in incarnation at the same time?
Fas est et ab hoste doceri

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Wed 30 Sep, 2015 06:57:27

With the world's population growing exponentially, one does wonder where the extra souls are coming from.

shanedwyer
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Post by shanedwyer » Wed 30 Sep, 2015 07:14:38

What I always thought an ill-advised wager was DW's devil-worshippers betting their Jermyn Street shirts on Satan winning the Gold Cup (or at least his trying to do right by his followers).

You'd have thought educated blokes like that would have at least a passing acquaintance with Revelations or Faust.

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Post by ken68 » Thu 1 Oct, 2015 09:30:05

Nevermind pascal, I prefer homers take on god😉.
Suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder."

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